CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – U.S. Air Force Col. Dean Lee assumed command of the 449th Air Expeditionary Group in a change of command ceremony here, March 15.
Lee assumed command from U.S. Air Force Col. David Barnes upon his reassignment to the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, as the deputy commander.
During his induction speech, Lee said he has three goals he wants to accomplish as 449th commander.
“(Goal) number one (is) mission first, without question,” said Lee. “Number two, have fun―with the people, in the country, and with the mission.” The 449th AEG mission is to conduct personnel recovery and other operations to support U.S. Air Forces Africa and Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa missions. “I truly believe that this is a fun and motivating mission. And last but not least, leave the place better than we found it. I know we are all on the same team and I look forward to working with all of you.”
U.S. Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, 17th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Africa commander, presided over the 449th AEG change of command ceremony.
“(Lee) has proven skills, leadership and background that will enable the 449th to continue to excel in supporting the most important missions of (Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa, U.S. Africa Command),” said Woodward. “(He has) a proven record as a combat pilot, squadron and group commander and most recently with experience in the numbered air force.”
Woodward lauded Lee’s experience piloting various airframes, such as the O/A-10 Thunderbolt, F-15E Strike Eagle, and the U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet. She noted that during his military career, Lee logged more than 350 combat hours in support of operations Desert Shield, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.
“Your experience and background are well-suited to support (Air Force’s) Africa. You clearly know what it takes to take command.”